VR (Virtual Reality) is making waves in a new sector every day, it may be no surprise that it has recently found its way into psychiatry, with the technology being used by psychiatrists in order to enable the patients to overcome their anxieties and fears, while also avoiding any harmful consequences. Recent trials only helped in confirming this approach as powerful, with VR helping the patients in silencing the voices in their heads, while also helping people having a fear of heights to overcome it, providing even better results than face-to-face therapy.
The study was led by Professor Daniel Freeman, who is in the Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry, where he conducted a trial on 100 patients displaying fear of heights. These patients had a score greater than 29 on the basis of Heights Interpretation Questionnaire (HIQ), where a higher score is an indicator of greater fear of heights. 49 patients underwent VR treatment, and displayed a remarkable drop in their HIQ score, showing mean reduction of -24.5, while the generic patient control group showed a mean drop of only -1.2, in the same time period of 4 weeks.
Professor Freeman stated that after the VR treatment, people showed such drastic improvements that they were able to go to places that they would not have even considered possible. The results can be further extended to include VR as a means for allowing clinics to automate care delivery. If done so, such treatments would be able to cover millions of people in need of care. Freeman added that with the dearth of good psychological therapists around the globe, this technique of treatment would be a gift to millions of people, transforming their lives.
Meanwhile, a new start-up called Vicarious Surgical, which plans on conducting surgeries through the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Robotics, has just received $16.75 million in funding. The investors included biggies, such as Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla’s Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates’ Gates Ventures, and Google executive Erik Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, just to name a few. This funding will be used for expanding the company’s teams for software and robotics, in its next growth phase. The company was founded by CEO Adam Sachs along with Chief Technology Officer Sammy Khalifa and Chief Medical Officer Barry Greene, MD, in 2014, and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.